The good news is that Deb appears to be on the mend. The bad news is that it wasn’t allergies — it was a nasty cold, and now I’ve got it. There’d be no long road trips for us today.
We refused to malinger in the coach, however. Deadwood’s Historic District is only a few minutes down the road, and we figured some fresh air might do us both good. We ended up getting a little of that air and a lot of cold rain, torrential downpours soaking us to the skin as we walked Main Street.
That might not be a good prescription for the common cold, but neither of us cared. We pulled up the hoods on our hoodies and strolled on.
After grabbing a bite to eat we ducked into the Wild Bill Bar, which occupies the original site of Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon Number 10 at 624 Main Street. That’s the spot where Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back of the head by coward Jack McCall.
Deb, as usual, had an IPA. I ordered up a pint of tasty Buffalo Snot Oatmeal Stout, produced in Custer, South Dakota by Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company. Very good.
The “Deadwood Alive” company was reenacting a shootout on Main Street when we left the bar. We stopped and watched, enjoying a little Western cornball humor — “We use real cap-and-ball guns, kids, but instead of a ball we load ’em with Cream of Wheat. Because we’re cereal killers.” — before making our way back to the parking garage.
A couple of miles short of our campground we turned off the main drag and into a neighborhood (this time it was on purpose). We followed that road up a steep hill to the entrance of Mt. Moriah Cemetery and drove in.
It’s another one of those places few tourists take the time to visit. You should expect that of us by now.
Among the tall pines and 3,600 graves in this hillside cemetery are Old West legends, gold miners, lawmen, politicians and madams. We were there to see Wild Bill’s burial site and pay our respects.
The privilege cost us two bucks each and we got a map. A hundred yards up the paved path was a bronze bust of Hickok atop a pedestal, his grave surrounded by a wrought-iron fence.
Feet away, under a shabby urn just outside the fence, was the infamous “Calamity Jane,” whose dying wish reportedly was, “Bury me next to Wild Bill.”
I’ve been carrying around a poker chip I’d bought in Missouri a few months ago. I reached into my pocket, fished it out and tossed it over the fence. It landed at the base of Wild Bill’s marker.
Seemed like the right thing to do.
After a gloomy day in Deadwood it’s cold here this evening, and it’s damp. We’ll likely run the heat in the bus tonight, just to take the edge off the chill. We’re both looking forward to feeling better tomorrow.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.
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